You’re Consuming More Calories Than Your Body Needs
Incorporating a few days of exercise into your weekly routine is likely to increase your appetite-especially if your body is burning more calories than it’s used to. Unfortunately, this can cause many of us to trip up and consume more calories than we really need.
If running burns 100 calories per mile on average, a two-mile run will only leave you with a 200-calorie deficit. You could easily make up for that at your next meal if you’re not careful. It might be worth tracking your food and exercise in a free app for a few weeks to see if this is where you might be missing the mark.
Muscle Weighs More Than Fat: True Or False
While youre not going to turn into a body builder after just a few days of running, your body will slowly begin to build muscle and burn fat.
While this is great news for your overall fitness and race times, youre actually gaining weight by supplementing low density fat tissue for high density muscle tissue.
While it may not look great on the scale, its much healthier and will help you to continue to get faster and fitter.
*Weighs more than fat means that muscle is more dense
Youre Not Keeping Track Of What Youre Eating
Awareness is incredibly important if you are trying to lose weight. Many people dont have a clue how much theyre really eating.
Studies show that keeping track of your food intake helps with weight loss. People who use food diaries or photograph their meals consistently lose more weight than people who dont .
At the same time, there is a potential downside to food tracking, especially when its used for the purpose of weight loss. For people with eating disorders, calorie counting and food tracking has been shown to aggravate potentially harmful side effects (
If you are not losing weight, you should try weighing your foods and tracking your calories for a while.
Here are some helpful resources:
- Calorie calculator. Use a calorie calculator to figure out how many calories to eat.
- Calorie counters. This is a list of five free websites and apps that can help you keep track of your calorie and nutrient intake.
Tracking is also important if youre trying to reach a certain nutrient goal, such as getting 30% of your calories from protein. This can be impossible to achieve if youre not tracking things properly.
It is generally not necessary to count calories and weigh everything for the rest of your life. Instead, try out these techniques for a few days every few months to get a feel for how much youre eating.
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Four Subtle Shifts That Can Lead To Gaining Weight
You are positive that youre not eating more food or junkier food but youre still gaining weight.
Is this possible?
Yes! You are NOT crazy!
And heres why.
We both know that the whole calories in, calories out argument is an overly simplistic view of weight.
Theres definitely more to the story than just what youre eating, right?
A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat.
But, lets go beyond the eat less and exercise more advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though youre eating the same.
You’re Too Stressed Out To Lose Weight
Obsessing over your weight, diet and exercise program isn’t doing your waistline any good increasing your stress levels can make it hard to lose weight, and even trigger weight gain. Normally, stress hormones play a role in your body’s “fight or flight” response, and they help you access the fuel and energy you need to deal with a scary or stressful situation. Chronically high stress levels, however, disrupt your stress hormone levels. That affects how your body stores fuel, and you may find yourself developing more weight in your midsection.
Let your food diary double as a stress journal, a place in which you note the most frequent stressors in your life, so you can develop strategies to reduce your stress levels. Writing down your thoughts, ending your day with a peaceful meditation or talking to a loved one can all reduce your stress levels, which may help your weight get back on track. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each day, too sleeping 7 to 9 hours a night helps normalize your stress hormone levels, while sleep deprivation increases stress hormones.
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Why Am I Gaining Weight 12 Causes Of Unexplained Weight Gain
When youre trying to lose weight or simply maintain your current weight, the last thing you want to see when you step onto the scale is unexplained weight gain.
Not only is this the complete opposite of what you want, its also just flat out confusing. Possibly even depressing. Sometimes even concerning.
I mean, here you are, a person who is apparently eating in a manner that should NOT cause weight gain, but yet thats whats somehow happening.
And so youre left with a very obvious question: why am I gaining weight?
To help you answer to this question, Im going to break down every possible cause into two categories:
Lets start with short term causes.
Why Am I Not Losing Weight Despite Running Often
If the scale were a human, he/she would be considered a deceptive trickster.
A scale only provides one number, your absolute weight, which isnt always an accurate measurement of what is happening in your body.
Drink a gallon of water and youve instantly gained 8.3 pounds. Remove a kidney and youve lost 2 pounds.
Extreme examples, I know, but I think it proves that your absolute weight on a scale isnt always a truthful assessment of changes in your weight, or more importantly your fitness.
Here are just a few reasons the numbers on the scale will lie to you:
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Are You Cutting Calories
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than youre taking in. But theres cutting calories and then theres cutting too many calories, says registered dietitian and strength coach Marie Spano, RD, CSSD, CSCS. When you start slashing calories like a ninja, you might not be giving yourself enough fuel to really hit it during your workouts. You just go through the motions, she says. Plus, many people who start off their days severely restricting calories end up throwing caloric caution to the wind by dinnertime. If you dont have enough food, youre likely to encounter sugar cravings later in the day, says Washington D.C.-based registered dietitian Anne Mauney, MPH, RD.
The fix: Exactly how many calories you need depends on how many youre burning in the gym, but in general, your caloric deficit shouldnt be any more than 500 per day, Spano says. Aim to consume the bulk of your calories during the first half of your day and around your workout.
Youre Eating The Wrong Foods
When it comes to weight loss, you can exercise all you like, but if youre not eating the right foods, youll certainly struggle to lose the kilos. OK, but what does right food mean? Everythings a balance, but typically when youre trying to lose weight, eating whole and unprocessed foods is key. Theoretically, you could eat McDonalds for every meal as long as youre still eating in a calorie deficit and still lose weight. However, this obviously isnt advised as McDonalds isnt going to provide you the nutrients your body needs, and you wont be very healthy internally. However, even if youre steering clear of fast foods, processed foods like chips, biscuits, crackers and even things like pasta can really set you back on your weight-loss journey.
Pro Tip: When not buying fruit or veg, look for packaged items with the least amount of ingredients.
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Muscle Growth And Increased Bone Density
For a beginner, eating on a calorie deficit while working out causes both fat loss and muscle growth . While fat and muscle weigh the same, the latter tends to occupy less space. On the other hand, working out also increases bone density . These two factors can affect the number on the scale, making you believe that you are on a calorie deficit but not losing weight.
Why Youre Working Out And Gaining Weight Instead Of Losing: Whats Normal And Whats Not
First off, dont panic.
Second, we all KNOW that the scale isnt the best measure of our bodies or our progress, right???
None the less, I know Ive found myself wondering what the heck is happening and based on discussions with friends, you probably have too. Is marathon weight gain a must? And is all this running making us fatter?! Uh no.
A required part of running or strength training is that we stress the body and thereby breakdown muscles. The result of this inflammation is our body retains water to help with the repair process.
So after a lift, a long run or an interval session you might notice the scale is up for a few days.
Once the inflammation recedes, that water will drop and you should have built some muscle which will speed up your metabolism.
Carbohydrates Cause Water Retention
In order to adequately fuel your workouts, you need carbohydrates.
But its also true that carbohydrates can cause the body to retain water. This is a good thing for runners who want muscles to be plenty hydrated prior to long runs or summer runs.
Yes, this is also a common reason for weight loss on high fat diets.
WATER. They are losing water weight, not fat. Do not trick yourself in to believing that by reducing carbohydrates youll lose weight. We know that especially for women it results in hormonal imbalances that long term lead to weight gain and messes with your metabolism.
Dehydration Causes Water Retention
Building Muscle and Losing Fat
Eating as a Reward
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Youre Leaving Out Whole Food Groups
When many people think about weight loss, they also think about cutting out carbs. However, carbohydrates are a vital macronutrient in your diet. Often when we cut carbs, our bodies feel deprived and make us more likely to binge. You can eat carbs and still lose weight. In fact, carbs can help you lose weight! Now, were not talking bread and pasta and potato chips, but rather complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, oats and beans. This rule of thumb might be different for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or on a keto diet, but for most people with no underlying health condition, carbs are not the enemy.
Top Tip: Choose complex carbs which are digested more slowly and wont cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
How To Avoid All Of This
So, there you have it. If youve been weighing yourself regularly and wondering why youre gaining weight in the short or long term take a really good look at everything this article just covered.
Youll find your unexplained explanation somewhere within it.
Oh, and if youd like to lose fat, get lean and reach your goals while avoiding the problems we talked about in this article plus other common problems like losing muscle, feeling hungry all the time, not being able to eat the foods you love, metabolic slowdown and more, then you should check out Superior Fat Loss.
I designed it to greatly minimize or completely prevent everything that sucks about losing fat and all of the problems that screw things up along the way. See for yourself: Superior Fat Loss
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Your Body Is Not A Machine
It has its own rhythm and your weight will fluctuate within a certain range. This is normal and might mean you see a few extra pounds on the scale the next time you weigh yourself. Whats important is that the weights going down over the long term. So keep an eye on the big picturetheres no reason to panic.
Your Brain Onwhat Happens To Your Brain When You Go On A Diet
With this experience in mind, Taub-Dix explains that when you really cut back on calories, your body thinks youre in trouble, urging it into starvation mode, and it slows down a lot of the functions that are necessary to burn calories including your thyroid, metabolism and blood pressure. Whats more, as a woman, it can make your period irregular, which can affect your hormones and lead to weight gain. And at the end of the day, the battle of the binge is a hard one to win.
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Youre Consuming More Calories Than Youre Burning
Its super common for your appetite to turn up just as your fitness hits full blast, says Torey Armul, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, a from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people tend to lose less weight than expected when they exercised because of an increase in appetiteand an increase in energy intake.
When you start working out, your body starts burning more calories, Armul explains. And when you burn more calories, your body naturally wants to compensate by eating more calories to make up for what youre burning.
Whats more, people tend to overestimate how much they burn in a workout. Armul suggests keeping logs of how many calories you burn in a gym session, as well as tracking your food intake. Fitness trackers, like the Apple Watch and Fitbit, will tell you calories burned during exercise, while weight loss apps like MyFitnessPal offer easy food recording. You definitely dont need to write down these numbers for months, but try a week or two just to see how your stats line up.
Armul also says its a red flag if youre exercising only so you can eat more. “Thats a good theory, but you dont want to use eating as an excuse to exercise,” she says. “Make the goal getting healthy or fit or increasing athletic abilitynot doing it just so you can eat more.”
You Want To Lose Weight Fast Running
It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound.
Ideally, you should target a 300-600 a day calorie deficit if you want to lose weight safely and be healthy.
This means, you can expect to lose about 1-2 pounds per week.
Checking the scale every morning is going to reveal very little about your long-term progress or the actual state of your weight loss.
If you weigh yourself everyday, youre simply measuring day-to-day fluctuations in your hydration levels and other non-essential weight metrics.
Just like you wouldnt expect a 1 minute drop in your 5k PR after a week of training, dont expect a 5 pound weight loss after your first week of running.
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Why Am I Gaining Weight In The Long Term
Now for the next category.
We will define long term weight gain as basically anything that occurs over a period of time longer than 1 week. Or, even better, lets define it as weeks of weight gain.
So, for example, if 2 or more weeks have passed and you are consistently gaining weight during this span of time, these are the most likely explanations for it:
Youve Been Dieting For Too Long
It may not be a good idea to diet for too long.
If youve been losing weight for many months and youve hit a plateau, perhaps you need to take a break.
Try increasing your calorie intake by a few hundred calories per day, sleeping more, and lifting weights with the goal of getting stronger and gaining more muscle.
Aim to maintain your body fat levels for 12 months before you start trying to lose weight again.
If you have reached a weight loss plateau, you may have been dieting too long. Maybe its time to take a break.
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Youre Eating Too Much
Whether youve just started a weight loss program or youve been on a weight loss journey for a while, life happens. Maybe you were too exhausted after a long day at work to prepare a healthy meal, so you grabbed some fast food on the way home instead. Or you went out to eat with your friends and the menu options were less than stellar . Whatever the case may be, scenarios like this pop up from time to time that can be difficult to navigate when youre on a diet.
If youre eating out frequently, portion distortion being served more than the recommended serving size could be causing weight gain. Also, takeout meals usually have more fat and calories in a standard dish due to how the food is prepared .
The problem with “portion distortion” is that you may order a meal and think, “Great, heres one portion.” But remember: a portion size is the amount you decide to eat, while a serving size is the measured amount that is recommended for consumption. A serving size also represents quantities on a nutrition facts label. Most restaurants often prepare meals that may have two or even three servings in one portion. And it’s hard to recognize because portion sizes have become so inflated over recent years. In fact, the average size of most meals from fast-food chains and sit-down restaurants has grown by as much as 138% since the 1970s.1
Need some more tips to eat healthily when dining out? Check out this helpful guide.